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Findings from around the Internet.


“What is it about porn stars that bothers you so much?”

March 20, 2014


Maybe it’s the kids?

Do you hate us because you think we’re violating your kids?

Because I hear that a lot. Children have to be protected. It’s a battle cry that has been around for a long time. Protect the children from the homosexuals, the racial minorities, the Muslims, the Communists, the pedophiles, the satanists, the forces of evil.

Who are these kids who stumble upon porn accidentally? It must happen a whole lot to want to protect them. And what, exactly, is the fear? Kids will stumble across sex sooner or later (and I don’t need to tell you that you made those kids with sex). Maybe you feel ill-equipped to talk with your kids about sex. Maybe no one ever talked to you about sex, or you have trouble talking with your partner about it. Maybe the whole talking-about-sex thing in general is problematic. That would explain why you hate porn stars: Our whole lives are a discussion of sex.

But actually, let’s really get to the point here, because I have another question.

You might not like it.

See, because I’m stuck on the whole thing about what you’re imagining:

A young child, a little girl or boy sitting alone in a room illuminated by a computer screen. The child is totally innocent (but knows how to use the internet, of course), and suddenly, without any warning, there’s an image so intense that it penetrates his being and ruins his childhood. It traumatically destroys his innocence and nothing is ever the same. That’s the foundation of why you hate us. So let me ask:

Why are you always fantasizing about children being raped?

Read More | “What I Want to Know Is Why You Hate Porn Stars” | Conner Habib | The Stranger


“‘Fight the Power’ inside a mock Doritos vending machine”

March 17, 2014


For South by Southwest, Lady Gaga filmed something of an infomercial for Doritos, urging people to use the hashtag #boldstage and submit a video of themselves doing something “bold” to compete for access to her performance. (In fact, any journalist covering the event was required to do the same thing, which explains why I — and my colleague Jon Pareles — were not there. If we had done so, we would have consented to “give sponsor a royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, nonexclusive license” to use our social media efforts to sell corn chips.)

We missed quite a spectacle, from what I can see in video clips and news reports. Lady Gaga was smeared in barbecue sauce and mock-roasted like a pig and then, with the ink on the check from Doritos barely dry — and with millions destined for her charity — she bit the tortilla chip that fed her. “I won’t play by your” — insert street-cred adjective — “rules,” she said.

She then wagged a crooked finger at her fans who were shooting pictures on their phone and had tweeted their way in at her instruction: “When you leave this earth, no one is going to care what you tweeted. Don’t let the machine and don’t let technology take you from this earth.”

Read More | “A New Model for Music: Big Bands, Big Brands” | David Carr | NY Times

For more on brands and sellouts, see Whitney Mallett’s January TNI essay “Personal Ads


“I want…many, many balloons!”

February 10, 2014


Lipnitskaya was born on June 5, 1998—a year I’m pretty sure even my baby sister has crystalline memories of—and she qualified for the Olympics with less than a month to spare: to make the cut, you have to turn 15 by July 1st of the year before the Olympics start, which Yulia hit in June, 2013. Now that she’s broken a record, her age is quantified not just in years but in days: 15 years and 249 days. That’s just six days fewer than the similarly-named Tara Lipinski had to her name when she set the old record in Nagano in—wait for it—1998. It’s almost reminiscent of the way children calculate their ages. Time goes slower for them and age enforces a hierarchy, so every month, every day counts.

Today, VKontakte, Russia’s version of Facebook, confirmed the authenticity ofan account that had for days been attributed to Lipnitskaya. Take one look at it and contrast it with the thing she’s accomplished, and you feel like you’re looking at a Lolita, a girl whose user pic is of a white teddy bear in a red shirt but who runs with the adults.

Read More | “Sure, Yulia Lipnitskaya is an Amazing Skater, But She Is Also a Child” | Julia Ioffe | New Republic


“I have no idea who this guy is”

February 5, 2014


Young tells ANIMAL that he is “probably not” going to update any of the press materials or revise his upcoming talk at the Church’s gallery space. “I’m still not convinced it’s necessary,” he says, then takes to updating definitions of English adjectives. “Crediting them as anonymous is different than unknown, which is to say unknowable.” And so, he seems to believe that labeling “knowable” someone’s images as anonymous/courtesy of yourself — the equivalent of cropping out a photo credit a scrawling out a painting signature and toting it as your anonymous discovery — is legit curatorial practice, in fact, it’s even conceptual-like!

“I recognize a philosophical juncture that once they were in the trash, ownership ceased,” he muses to me. Soda mused on this as well, finding it curious that Young’s self-imposed ownership to her physical stuff mimics the part of internet culture where images sometimes lose authorship once unloaded onto the internet, quipping, “It’s interesting that this is happening IRL too.” Young jumped all over that, of course. “That includes attribution, and so by Molly’s own words… there is no imperative to cite ownership or attribution to her. This is not the same as if I had printed out images online and used them.” Only, it is. Because those images he used are online, in the Google image results for her name.

When asked if he was surprised that it took less than an hour for his faux-”anonymous” artist’s identity to become a public fact, Young said, “Not really, I knew she was pretty well-known on the internet.”

Read More | “Curator of Molly Soda’s ‘Found’ Photos: ‘I Don’t Think of These as Molly Soda’s Photos” | Marina Galperina | Animal NYC


“Poem is one of the names we give to cultural material once it has become property”

January 15, 2014


There is no going back, not even if we wanted to (which we don’t). That’s the first rule of history. We would not want the above remarks to suggest the possibility of romantic return to a pre-history that was certainly oppressive and ugly enough as it was. But knowledge of these folk traditions does help to denaturalize our sense of what poetry is, and gives us, as a result, a much better sense of the possibilities for patterned language under entirely different social conditions. What would happen to poetry in a society in which there was a fundamental equality of opportunity and equality of access to the means of cultural expression? Poetry would no longer be a restricted domain, accessible to the few, to those with the resources, or the good fortune, to find their way to the Parnassian foothills. The equalization of access – of free time, essentially – would have profound and far-reaching effects, we think, on the social status of aesthetic activity, which would instantly become the possession of the many, rather than the few, even if there were no generalization of inclination or talent. In a situation where there are as many writers as there are readers, collaborative, iterative and collective production of text seems as if it would present the more logical choice. Let’s imagine, too, a human community in which what one took from or gave to the social store was entirely voluntary and regulated by nothing so much as one’s sense of belonging to a community. In this situation, one would likely no longer experience the social field as a regulative and even violent force that stood over and against one’s individual freedom, but as the fundamental precondition of such freedom. Likewise, the individual would no longer appear as a variation played upon a general type – man, woman, poet, carpenter, whatever. Rather, each individual would present as absolute singularity, as specificity belonging to no general category, a unique actualization of social possibilities; any conjunction of individuals would likewise be unique. There would be no need to seek out distinction by way of difference as happens in capitalist society, since distinction and singularity would be the given of social life. The quest for recognition that animates so much poetry would be meaningless. If we imagine poetry surviving in such a set-up – but not poets or poems – it’s because poetry is likely to emerge as the creation of these unique conjunctions of singular individuals, under conditions where social interactions are animated by collaboration and cooperation rather than competition. The mode of address of poetry would likely be radically different as well, since the distinction between public and private spheres, bound up as it is with the distinction between free and unfree activity, will have disappeared. Poetry might become both more intimate and more social all at once.

Read More | “Self-Abolition of the Poet (Part 2)” | (Part 1) | Jasper Bernes, Joshua Clover, Juliana Spahr | Jacket2